Gertrude Weil - Smith College - Home Culture Club

In this letter, Weil discusses with her mother the possibility of starting a "Home Culture Club" in Goldsboro. Run by a Miss Moffat, whom Weil greatly admired, the Home Culture Club provided classes and advice to the working-class population of Northampton. Here, Weil provides an astute analysis of the differences between social service work in different types of communities, commenting how different the populations of Goldsboro and Northampton were.

Weil wrote regularly to her mother about her work with the Club. In October 1898, having signed up to teach penmanship, she expressed her initial nervousness to her mother*:

I'm sure I shall be frightened to death when I start to speak to a class—fancy my giving directions to a class of great big working men, who, I am told, will most likely be the class. Maybe it will give me a little self confidence—make me less afraid when Miss Hauscom, Ph..D., calls upon me to criticize a ballad in Lit. class. If they were only children, I shouldn't mind. But they say that the people who go to learn are very earnest and conscientious.

Work with the Club gave Weil not only self-confidence, but also practical experience working to improve the lives of those less fortunate than herself. She would draw constantly on this experience in her later social service work, most immediately in the advice she gave her mother on establishing a similar organization in Goldsboro.

Excerpts from Letter from Gertrude Weil to her family, November 20, 1898

View the full letter.

*Letter from Gertrude Weil to her family, October 17, 1898, in the Gertrude Weil Papers at the North Carolina Office of Archives and History.


Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Gertrude Weil - Smith College - Home Culture Club." (Viewed on October 3, 2023) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now